MOSCOW– Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president of Belarus, has actually ordered arrests of key challengers for years. But even after a brutal and bloody crackdown on opposition protests last year, his choice on Sunday to force an airliner to land so a popular activist and reporter might be detained horrified his domestic critics and European leaders alike.
A Belarusian MIG-29 military jet required a Ryanair passenger aircraft heading from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk airport, where authorities jailed one of the passengers, a slim young man. A bomb alert was the main factor for diverting the airplane, but nobody in Belarusian opposition had doubts about the real factor behind the special operation: the arrest guest of 26- year old activist and journalist, Roman Protasevich, the creator of a popular NEXTA Telegram channel checked out by more than four million individuals.
Months of severe pressure on Belarusian journalists magnified last week with raids on the workplace of a widely known news site Tut.by, violent interrogations, and the arrests of 8 other editors and reporters in Minsk. Authorities are accusing Protasevich of arranging the opposition rallies in 2020, along with of “prompting social enmity.” Protasevich is confronting 12 years in prison however his coworkers are worried about his life.
The journalist's buddy, human rights protector Ayona Maslyukova, got into tears when she heard the news of the arrest in the airport. “They are going to abuse him, beat him– I have seen lots of victims with bruised legs and lower backs, some were raped in jail,” Maslyukova informed The Daily Monster, sobbing.
Maslyukova and her associates at the Minsk based human best center Vesna have actually been monitoring thousands of arrests and human rights infractions considering that the opposition riots erupted in Belarus last August. But the arrest of Protasevich broke her heart. “I have known him as the most professional, honest and dedicated press reporter because2014 Now he might deal with many years in prison or perhaps a death sentence, which is simply horror. The world must focus on this scary,” Maslyukova added.
They are going to torture him, beat him– I have actually seen lots of victims with bruised legs and lower backs, some were raped in jail.
Before his flight, Protasevich had observed an unusual traveler with a leather case next to him in line at the passport control in the airport in Athens on Sunday early morning. The complete stranger tried to photo Protasevich's passport then turned around and. The journalist explained what occurred in his Belarus Golovnogo Mozga blog, the 2nd biggest Telegram channel in the country.
” The fact that the military totalitarian Lukashenko bought to land a Ryanair passenger aircraft with the assistance of Belarusian air forces is another proof of Belarus is violating global law, putting lives of travelers at danger,” a Belarusian diplomat Pavel Latushko told Protasevich's associates at the blog site.
Dmitry Solovyev, a human rights protector at Vesna, states that currently there are 405 political detainees in Belarus. Solovyev has actually attempted to leave the nation, after authorities seriously beat him in his apartment, harming his spine in March. “A number of officers of special services turned me back in the airport, I was not able to catch my flight to Poland, where I was planning to have a medical treatment,” Solovyev told The Daily Monster. “I hope they will not torture Roman.”
Leaders of Greece, France, Poland and Baltic countries revealed anger at Lukashenko's actions on Sunday. British political leader Tom Tugendhat stated that “forcing an airplane to land to silence opposition voices is an attack on democracy. The President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, required on Twitter that Protasevich be freed: “Unprecedented event! Program lags the abhorrent action.”
In a statement, Ryanair stated the flight landed after being “notified of a potential security danger” and that “( n) othing unfortunate was discovered and authorities cleared the aircraft to depart with passengers and team.” The declaration made no reference of Protasevich, the guest who remained behind when the aircraft departed.
Belarus opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhonovskaya, demanded the immediate release of the reporter: “He faces the capital punishment in Belarus. Lukashenko's program endangered the lives of passengers onboard the airplane. From now on, no one flying over Belarus can be safe.”